Army Nurse Corps recruiting poster, by Stu L. Savage, created for the US Army Recruiting Bureau, 1944.
Credit: National Archives



African American WAAC officers recruit for the racially segregated armed forces. Credit: Library of Congress

WAVES recruiting poster,
by John Falter, USNR, 1943.

Credit:   Library of Congress

Coast Guard SPARs recruiting pamphlet
Credit:  Women’s Memorial Foundation

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War Department publicists produced posters and subway cards that portrayed women in uniform as glamorous.

The armed forces launched crash recruiting drives including rallies, national advertising campaigns, community outreach programs, and appeals to college students.

Before World War II the prevailing view of a woman's role was that of wife and mother.  Many occupations were reserved for men and some states barred married women from holding jobs.  The need to mobilize the entire population behind the war effort was so compelling that political and social leaders agreed that both women and men would have to change their perceptions of gender roles—at least as long as there was a national emergency.  Women were told they must contribute in a variety of ways.

The government turned immediately to readily identifiable women leaders at the Nation's academic institutions. Higher education for women was socially acceptable, but the opportunity to use education in the workplace was limited. Women educators had networks of academically qualified women whom they recruited for government service in military and civilian capacities.